Leaning further into a burgeoning economic war with China of his own design, Donald Trump on Friday levied a series of bizarre demands of American companies who do business in the country. They included an order for American firms to cease production in China. “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”
The proclamation, which the president does not have the power to enforce, might have been expected to unleash a wave of panic and terror among America’s mostly capitalist citizenry – such state-mandated orders are, after all, the stuff of planned-economy communist countries. But instead, America’s Twitter-sphere resorted mainly to mocking Trump and his rhetorical flourishes. Soon “I hereby order” was taking on a life of its own: from top politicians down to the man-in-the-street Twitter inhabitant.